Liberty Media ‘preparing to sideline Ecclestone’

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In the round-up: Formula One’s incoming new owners Liberty Media are lining up a new executive to take over some of Bernie Ecclestone’s responsibilities.

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Will Bottas impress the way his former Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup rival did?

The lukewarm response reminds me somewhat of Ricciardo’s promotion to Red Bull. The dominant team of the era replaces it’s retiring driver with what was widely perceived to be a safe bet who wouldn’t rock the boat. Someone who would fall into a submissive role against the star driver. Then he goes on to make that star driver look pretty average, and is now widely regarded as one of F1’s biggest talents.

Like back then, we are entering a period of significant rule changes. The slate is wiped clean. I’m not saying that Bottas can do what Ricciardo did, but I certainly don’t think he will fall into a number two role. Either way, it’s far, far too soon to judge, and I can’t wait to see how he does.

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On this day in F1

Two F1 stars who lost their lives too young were born on this day: Gilles Villeneuve in 1950 and Pedro Rodriguez in 1940.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Liberty Media ‘preparing to sideline Ecclestone’”

  1. Guttierez quotes –
    “I don’t want to do things just for the sake of doing them and just to be there [in the F1 paddock]. I want to have something that makes sense.”

    Yes Esteban. Finding a test driver role for a big team makes a whole lot more sense than trying your luck at another motoring series that you might actually be decent at.

    1. Pretty accurate. HE will probably be back as Ferrari “test driver”. Does Ferrari needs Slim’s money that bad?

      1. I doubt they do, but let’s be realistic here. What reason would any team, even the richest ones, have to refuse a test driver who brings plenty of sponsorship money when the role of a test driver nowadays has become largely irrelevant?

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        18th January 2017, 10:10

        Not badly enough to shift Giovinazzi from the third driver role I bet

        1. no rule saying they can’t have both is there? especially if he’s bringing in money and not taking money out.

  2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    18th January 2017, 8:27

    After reading Ross Brawn’s Strategy book I would absolutely love him to be the executive Liberty appoint, his intelligence, approach and professionalism is second to none. However he did say in the book he doesn’t like politics, so this role may not appeal to him. Ross described how he would implement a 3 year forward thinking plan for F1, to which he was told wasn’t quick enough, they instead implemented a load of quick fixes that didn’t work then sure enough 3 years later nothing had been improved.

    1. I agree entirely, but I don’t see it happening unless they can give him more power than they might be able to. It’s weird though because the timing of the book and some sections almost seemed like a sales pitch to Liberty for Ross to me.

  3. You either die a hero, or see yourself become the villain. Ecclestone has been the villain for quite a long time, he needs to move over, and remember people of his legacy, F1 needs fresh and current input.

    I have grew up watching F1 with my father, I would like to do the same with my kids, but I need F1 for that.

  4. That Variety article doesn’t inspire much confidence in me about Liberty. More races, more pay TV, and a poorly thought out digital platform. What use are more races if no one has the ability to watch them? F1 needs to grow its audience to attract the major sponsors that seem to be disappearing off the cars each year, and no one is going to pay for a cable TV package to watch a sport they have never seen before and likely never heard of.

    What I would like to see is a free online stream of the race, (perhaps opening with quali highlights), in standard definition, supplemented by ads, with the bare basics in terms of telemetry, much like the TV feed now. Then a paid option on top of that to watch t in full HD (4K?) with no ads, and a full set of telemetry data, all onboards, pit feed, radio feed, everything. I would gladly pay £15 a month for that. I mean I pay $8 a month to watch those Grand Tour idiots on Amazon, and the only time I even turn on the Sky box is to watch the F1.

    The simple fact that I am far from the first person to say this should be more than enough of a reason for someone to get behind it.

    1. It seems strange to see Liberty’s “Media CEO” saying they need to put F1 behind the paywall so as to increase revenue because where I live F1 hardly exists simply because F1 has been behind the paywall for so long. F1 race results have gone from the top radio station’s sports news by lunch time (most races start about midnight local time).
      I don’t see any benefit in cutting the viewing audience further, but Liberty know their business better than I do. What I do think needs to happen is to even out the distribution of TV rights money.
      The Token System has been “binned” which is good, so I’m expecting the lap times to be within a narrower range this season than last year. Already we have had promising announcements from Honda and Renault. In theory that should increase competitiveness amongst the teams, but I’m not convinced there will be more on track overtaking this year because the increased downforce will mean increased turbulence behind a car which will make it more difficult to get within DRS range. So I’m expecting to see more “Trulli Trains”.

  5. A news article about Liberty and F1 from Variety

    Kind of says it all about F1’s future – the lunatics will definitely be running the asylum.

  6. Not sure I agree with the COTD.
    Yes, I was one of many who thought Ricciardo would be a dedicated no.2 to Vettel and that was simply because looking at JEV vs RIC over the previous 2 years, the points tally wasn’t showing that Ricciardo was going to be THAT good. What I did gloss miss while looking at the statistics was that Ricciardo was a demon qualifier compared to JEV and JEV was making the points better only because he had an extra set of tyres available on race day.
    With Bottas, I am not seeing any such statistic which is indicative of him being a hidden gem. He has beaten Massa by a good margin but not dominated him. In the wet, the Williams was difficult to handle but Massa still did better than Bottas. In wheel-to-wheel, he has seemed very tentative and has left the door open many times.

    And if Valtteri was that good, Ferrari would not have passed him over in 2015 and Mercedes would have offered him more than a year’s contract in 2017. Hamilton’s contract runs till end of 2018. Fernando and Seb’s contracts end in 2017. Max, Ricciardo and Sainz may (or may not) have some exit clauses that frees them up in end of 2017. Mercedes have timed their association with Bottas to end in a year*, allowing themselves to get one of the above mentioned drivers. So its not as if Valtteri is the ‘best’, he is the ‘best available’

    *I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Seb already has a deal with Mercedes to join in 2018 and this deal was agreed to in Nov. 2016 right after Rosberg’s retirement and even before Bottas came in the picture for 2017. Seb seems that kind of a guy who may have lot going on in the background but not let anything out in the press.

    1. He now has plenty of races in top team to prove his talent… I see him do either a Perez at McLaren or Riciardo at RBR…

      We will see. And if he beats Hamilton… I see Hamilton retiring ASAP… Or moving to Ferrari.

      1. If Bottas beats Hamilton, I foresee Hamilton doing everything from blaming his team to something ‘wrong’ with his car!

        To corrupt a quote from Hamilton in 2013 ‘I’m being overtaken by a Williams (driver)’…

      2. Still never understood the Perez having a terrible year at McLaren. Sure he wasn’t great, but it was mostly down to the car being awful. I’d more use Kovalainen as an example, again was never expected to beat Hamilton, and was meant to be a second driver, but was still much worse than expected

        1. There was also the issue of mixed signals from his bosses. Was told to be more aggressive, did so, then was immediately chastised for fighting Button. Everything about Perez at McLaren was poorly handled from the team side, and their results from that season forward I think confirm where the issue was there.

    2. I think it is one thing to go by what the public’s general perception is, and a different thing from the team principle’s side as to their thinking. It was natural to assume SV was so engrained at RBR after 4 WDC’s that anybody would have been a natural number two to him. But the car was so changed and so not the great car he was accustomed to that he floundered and was highly frustrated and at a time when DR had no pressure…do less than SV and that’s understandable…do more and it’s gravy.

      I think VB is in the same boat. New to the team and much to prove yet, he has a golden opportunity and knows it…do less than LH and it’s understandable…do more than many expect and it’s gravy. If he steps up quickly the pressure will be much more on LH than VB.

  7. In other news Kimi Räikkönen won Finnish Sports Ambassador trophy yesterday at Finnish sports gala. His speech was just as awkward as everybody knew it’d be.

    1. So “bwoah” is Finnish for “Well, ehh…”

      1. I’m not Finnish, but I will confirm that

  8. Stoffel has also confirmed that fans will again be disappointed by a mostly grey McLaren based on his shirt.

    1. It would be especially disappointing after the orange tease that they used for the picture when they announced their release date.

  9. “I’m going to be sitting in front of the TV and watching the action and I look forward to seeing how Valtteri gets on, especially against Lewis.”

    Aren’t we all, Nico, aren’t we all!

  10. Regarding the QOTD, when Hamilton was contracted by McLaren he was also though to be a lightweight. Especialy Alonso was rather vocal that he wanted someone better as his team mate to help advance the team as a whole. The irony.

    1. Yeah, I remember that… talking to people in the F1 thread on another long-dead forum, and that was indeed the prevailing view. Probably 70% of posters saying it was a huge mistake by McLaren or that Hamilton would be a lapdog, and 30% (lots of us paid attention to the lower formulae) arguing that he’d be far better than people expected.

      I recall one guy saying Alonso would destroy Hamilton’s career, and me saying it’d more likely be the other way round, and receiving a torrent of laughing faces in response. Still, not one person ever expected him to have as good a first season as he did.

      On a slightly related note, now you mention Hamilton, it’s strange that it’s not really happening with Vandoorne. Don’t really see strong views either way with him. Wonder why.

      1. I think because Vandoorne does not have much hype. Hype inevitably will backfire and some people will feel the need to play devil’s advocate against exaggerated optimism (see VES which generates extremely polarized views).

        I don’t recall much, but I thing back in the day HAM had A LOT of publicity both for being British and the first black driver in F1.

        Vandoorne meanwhile is not the youngest, nor the son of anybody, not the ‘first anything’ and has kept a very humble low profile during last season (some would have blown the lid right after scoring the first point). Nothing has been oversold, so it’s hard to discuss about him.

  11. On this day in F1

    Pedro Rodgiguez was an incredibly tallented driver.

    I was privileged to see Pedro win the BOAC 1000km at Brands in 1970. A cold, wet, miserable day; British weather at its most inhospitable. Pedro black flagged on lap 2 for passing under a yellow that he had not seen in the spray. Lost a whole lap being lectured by the clerk to the course. Went back into the race and got that lap back in 20 minutes or so. Ended up winning by 5 clear laps. In a 5 litre Porsche 917!

    If I remember correctly, the Motoring News correspondent called it “The day they forgot to tell Pedro that it was raining”.

    A Mexican gentleman who wore English tweeds and a deerstalker hat in the pits. A sad loss.

  12. Newey’s interview suggests he’d be a poor poker player. RB trying to incept the “2017 rules made for racing” and then dismissing the fact that RB is probably going to be a contender after lobbing for the new aero rules is pathetic especially after gloating after the fact they are doing well on their 2017 project.

  13. COTD is right on Ricciardo. Many of us, liked Jev better, others thought to highly of Vettel and few didn’t rank Vettel at all (me and others). In the end Ricciardo suprised even his own supporters (at least I was). Anyway the crucial difference here is that Bottas was alongside 2 known quantities, and more experienced drivers not another young unknown quantity. Bottas should’ve “alonsed”, Massa, and Maldonado.

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